MUMBAI:With the Supreme Court staying the Delhi High Court order to appoint a Committee of Administrators (CoA) for the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), another power struggle has broken out with Adille J Sumariwalla claiming to have been co-opted as the president of the IOA.
However, the rival faction refuted his claims.
Sumariwalla, who is a vice-president in the incumbent executive committee and also president of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), made the claim in a letter sent to the President, International Olympic Committee (IOC) and general council members of IOA, the executive council of IOA and the President of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).
Sumariwalla claimed that the decision to co-opt him as IOA president was taken by 18 out of the 31 executive members of the IOA "in accordance with Clause 11.1 of the IOA Constitution".
"The undersigned is an Olympian and Vice President of the Indian Olympic Association ("IOA"). It gives me immense pleasure to announce that, by a majority, the members of the Executive Council of IOA have co-opted the undersigned to be President of the IOA," Sumariwalla said in the letter.
"The majority members of the IOA Executive Committee vide letters dated July 2022 have co-opted the undersigned to be the President of the IOA till such time as fresh elections to the Executive Council of the IOA are held," the letter said.
"The erstwhile President of the IOA, Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra, resigned from the post of President, IOA on 18.07.2022 due to personal reasons, which led to a vacancy for the post of President, IOA. Thereafter, 18 Executive Members out of 31, i.e., majority members, in accordance with Clause 11.1.5 of the IOA Constitution, co-opted the undersigned to fill the vacancy for the post of President, IOA," Sumariwalla claimed in his letter.
"I hereby accept the post of President, IOA duly co-opted by the majority members of the Executive Council," he informed the IOC president and other stakeholders.
Meanwhile, Anandeshwar Pandey, IOA treasurer refuted the claim and said such a decision, if taken, is illegal as the executive committee's term had ended in December 2021 itself.
"The Delhi High Court had first appointed Mr. Anil Khanna as acting president and then appointed a committee of administrators. The Supreme Court stayed the appointment of CoA and asked the status quo to be maintained, which means Khanna remains in charge.
"So, where is the question of Sumariwalla claiming to have been co-opted as president IOA by the executive committee," Pandey told IANS on Saturday.
He said this move is an alleged brainchild of Batra, against whom a CBI inquiry is on, and Lalit Bhanot, who was chargesheeted in the Commonwealth Games scam of 2010. He claimed that by writing such a letter, Sumariwalla is liable to face contempt of court proceedings.